A Quick Look at the Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies of European Coastal Waters

Anyone who visits the Unisys sea surface temperature anomaly webpage will have noted the recent cool sea surface temperature anomalies off the southwest coast of Europe. Since the map on the main page is updated daily, I’ve presented the most recent map in their archive as Figure 1.

Figure 1

Figure 1

The direct link to that archived map is here.

The color-coding of the Unisys maps of course makes the data appear cool, but even so, the June 2013 sea surface temperature anomalies, based on the Reynolds OI.v2 data, are in fact cool off the southwest coast of Europe. As shown in Figure 2, the data for the coordinates of 35N-55N, 20W-5E haven’t been that cool since 1993-94.

Figure 2 SST SW Coast of Europe

Figure 2

But—there’s always a but—the sea surface temperature anomalies to the north and northwest of Europe (55N-75N, 20W-55E) are running on the warm side. Refer to Figure 3.

Figure 3 SST North and NW Coast of Europe

Figure 3

As a whole, though, the sea surface temperature anomalies for European coastal waters are pretty typical of the values for the last decade, as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4 SST European

Figure 4

And of course, there’s nothing in the ocean heat content data and the satellite-era sea surface temperatures to indicate that manmade greenhouse gases were responsible for the warming of the global oceans. If that topic is new to you, refer to the illustrated essay “The Manmade Global Warming Challenge”.


Figure 5 is a map that captures the June 2013 sea surface temperature anomalies for the portions of the Arctic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea and North Atlantic discussed in this post. While the warm anomalies at high latitudes are likely the result of a weather pattern, it almost appears as though Iceland is somehow responsible for part of the warming.

Figure 5

Figure 5

And that leads to my questions:

Has anyone ever seen a study of the impacts of volcanic ash and pumice on the optical properties of sea water and/or on sea surface temperatures? And has anyone seen a study of the impacts of volcanic ash from recent high-latitude eruptions on the albedo of sea ice?


The Sea Surface Temperature anomaly data used in this post is available through the NOAA NOMADS website:





About Bob Tisdale

Research interest: the long-term aftereffects of El Niño and La Nina events on global sea surface temperature and ocean heat content. Author of the ebook Who Turned on the Heat? and regular contributor at WattsUpWithThat.
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